The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Principal Investigator

Jacqueline Mosselson

Jacqueline Mosselson headshot
Associate Professor, Educational Policy, Research and Administration
Family Research Scholar, 2009-10


Jacqueline Mosselson’s research centers around the unique issues facing young people in conditions of extreme economic and governmental uncertainty. Prior research has found that school has a positive impact on a youth’s sense of agency in fragile contexts. As a Family Research Scholar, Mosselson worked on a project to develop a field study to better understand the relationship between education and youth outcomes in fragile contexts.

Her study compares the experiences of young people in Haiti, Uganda, and Thailand over multiple years. Findings from this study will provide important information for international relief organizations and governmental policies about effective youth interventions in fragile contexts.

Jacquie Kurland

Jacquie Kurland headshot
Associate Professor, Communication Disorders
Family Research Scholar, 2009-10


Jacquie Kurland is interested in the psychosocial effects of stroke induced aphasia (acquired neurogenic language impairment). Her work investigates brain reorganization following intensive therapy for individuals with aphasia. This research centers around the idea that family members of affected individuals can be highly influential in improving outcomes of intensive language therapy for those with aphasia.

As a Scholar, Kurland developed several grant proposals in order to fund and administer a residential summer program of intensive language therapy. Family members would receive counseling and training in conversation techniques aimed at reinforcing the therapeutic gains of individuals receiving the therapy. Little is known about the changes to quality of life associated with aphasia.  Kurland hopes to develop a formal tool for assessment of changes in quality of life for those with aphasia.

Lisa Scott

Lisa Scott headshot
Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of Florida
Family Research Scholar, 2009-10


Scott is a developmental psychologist whose research involves the study of the neural mechanisms of perceptual category learning and perceptual experience in developmental populations. Using both behavioral and electrophysiological methods, her work focuses on how specific visual experiences influence how infants and adults learn to recognize and categorize various types of objects. As a Family Research Scholar, Scott focused on infants’ perceptual abilities, face recognition and other-race face bias. The research consisted of several experiments to examine the consequences of perceptual narrowing on the development of perceptual, cognitive and affective development during the first year of life. Dr. Scott departed UMass Amherst for the University of Florida in 2015.

Lynnette Leidy Sievert

Lynnette Leidy Sievert headshot
Professor, Anthropology
Interim Director, Center for Research on Families, 2015-16
Family Research Scholar, 2004-05 & 2008-09
Co-Director, Stress Research Group


Lynnette Leidy Sievert is a biological anthropologist whose research has focused on age at menopause and symptom experience at menopause as two aspects of human variation. She is also interested in the evolution of menopause and post-reproductive aging as a human trait. As a Family Research Scholar, Leidy Sievert studied three interconnected aspects of everyday life: marriage and family, religion and spiritual practices, and economic security in relation to symptom experience among women at midlife.

She conducted this research in Mexico. She is currently working to understand variation in age and symptom experience at menopause in Puebla, Mexico; Asuncion, Paraguay; and Hilo, Hawaii. She has received funding in the past from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the AAAS, and UMass Amherst. She has also received the Young Investigator Award (twice) from the North American Menopause Society.

Krista Harper

Krista Harper headshot
Associate Professor, Anthropology and Public Policy
Family Research Scholar, 2008-2009


Krista Harper is a cultural anthropologist whose research interests include environmentalism and other social movements, political culture, postsocialist societies, critical heritage studies and the anthropology of food. She has conducted ethnographic research in Hungary, Portugal and the United States. In her book, Wild Capitalism: Environmental Activists and Post-socialist Political Ecology in Hungary (2006), she examined how the meanings of “civil society” and “environment” have changed as environmentalists encounter the political and ecological realities of life after state socialism. As a Family Research Scholar, Harper combined a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach and digital media to investigate how environmental inequalities are produced and how residents experience environmental and social exclusion in a city in northeastern Hungary and in two other communities. In recent projects she investigated the farm-to-school food systems in the United States using the PhotoVoice research method.

Dean Robinson

Dean Robinson headshot
Associate Professor, Political Science
Family Research Scholar, 2007-08


Dean Robinson examines the effects of political and public policy trends on racial health disparities in the United States. His work focuses on patterns and policies that reinforce inequality of social welfare provision and socioeconomic status. In 2001, Dr. Robinson was awarded a two year fellowship as a W.K. Kellogg Scholar in Health Disparities at Harvard University's School of Public Health to pursue his research.

As a Family Research Scholar, Dr. Robinson sought funding to design a study to gauge the potential impact of state politics and policy on overall infant mortality, and black-white disparities. The working hypothesis is that features of the local political landscape, like state culture or ideology, party control of state government and various demographic characteristics affect state public policies which directly and indirectly affect infant mortality rates.

Nancy Folbre

Nancy Folbre headshot
Professor Emeritus, Economics
Family Research Scholar, 2007-08


Nancy Folbre focuses on the interface between feminist theory and political economy, with a particular interest in caring labor and other forms of non-market work. She has received a five-year fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation (the famed "Genius" grant) and also served as co-chair of the MacArthur Research Network on the Family and the Economy. She works with the Center for Popular Economics and is an Associate Editor of the journal Feminist Economics.

Dr. Folbre has been actively engaged in the creation and development of the Center for Research on Families as a steering committee member. As a Family Research Scholar, Dr. Folbre pursued a large interdisciplinary research project to investigate ways of measuring and improving the quality of co-produced care services. Dr. Folbre is also a contributor to The New York Times' Economix blog, which provides an analysis of the news using an economics framework.

Lisa Marin Wexler

Lisa Marin Wexler headshot
Associate Professor and Program Head, Community Health Education
Family Research Scholar, 2007-08


Lisa Wexler's research considers how health and disease are understood and enacted within a social and cultural context. Considering how different people identify, understand and address their "problems" can enable professionals to advocate for meaningful change as well as develop effective intervention projects. Dr. Wexler is particularly interested in learning how situated discourses, attitudes and beliefs, of both professionals and the people they serve, influence minority wellbeing.

Her work has focused on suicide and suicide prevention in an Alaskan Inupiaq community. She received a Fulbright Fellowship in 2015-16 for a project entitled “This is What I Wish You Knew,” which was aimed at raising awareness for indigenous people in Atlantic Canada to let their voices be heard. Dr. Wexler was invited to the project by Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS) researchers due to their interest in her Intergenerational Dialogue Exchange and Action (IDEA) research method. During her year as a Family Research Scholar, Dr. Wexler developed a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) proposal for submission to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs (OPP).

Brenda Bushouse

Brenda Bushouse headshot
Associate Professor, Political Science and Public Policy
Family Research Scholar, 2006-07


Brenda Bushouse's research interests include early childhood policy, nonprofit governance and policymaking processes. In her 2009 book, Universal Preschool: Policy Change, Stability, and the Pew Charitable Trusts, she analyzed the creation of state-funded preschool programs in six states and explored the impact of foundation funding in state policymaking processes. 

In 2008, she was hosted by the New Zealand Ministry of Education through an Ian Axford Fellowship in Public Policy to study early childhood policy in New Zealand, which led to the publication of Early Childhood Education Policy in Aotearroa/New Zealand: The Creation of the 20 Hours (Free) Program (2008). She is currently exploring the use of network methodologies to understand how nonprofit organizations elevate policy ideas.

Maureen Perry-Jenkins

Maureen Perry-Jenkins headshot
Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
CRF Faculty Director
Family Research Scholar, 2006-07


Maureen Perry-Jenkins is a nationally renowned scholar whose contributions on the national, state, regional and university levels have had a profound impact on family research. Her work focuses on the ways in which socio-cultural factors such as race, gender, and social class shape the mental health and family relationships of parents and their children.

Using a longitudinal research methodology, Perry-Jenkins's research examines the work and family experiences of blue-collar families, with particular attention to the experiences of people transitioning to parenthood, their early return to paid employment and the effects on working-class parents' psychological well-being and personal relationships. As a CRF Scholar, Dr. Perry-Jenkins continued to work on her research considering the unique challenges facing low-income families as they juggle the demands of work and new parenthood. She was named CRF Faculty Director in Fall 2013.